It is not easy to watch a loved one suffer from dementia, but despite one’s sympathies, empathy, and desires to help, providing care is even more difficult. In the United States alone, tens of millions of family caregivers can vouch for the intensity of these challenges. Thankfully, Integrity In-Home Care, with our expert dementia care, can help.
Whether family members provide the bulk of the care or there is a desire is for an in-home senior care agency to hand the majority, or even all, of the needed dementia care, Integrity In-Home Care is ready. In fact, our caregivers are specially trained to work with seniors who suffer from dementia, as well as their families.
Part of the challenge when dealing with dementia is understanding what the changes that are taking place with the senior. Much of what they are going through may not make sense. A senior’s reaction to a standard stimulus may be odd or even way off base. Sometimes, anger, frustration, hostility, or inappropriate aggression may come out of nowhere. Other times, a senior may completely shut down for no apparent reason. For this reason, learning to understand and communicate effectively with a person who suffers from dementia is one of the most important steps in effective caregiving.
Portland Dementia Care
A few of the methods our caregivers utilize, and that they can teach to family caregivers, include:
- Choosing simple phrases. From word choice to sentence length, what you say makes a big difference. Remember, seniors with dementia struggle to recall and process information. By choosing words that are simple to remember and easy to understand, communication is more likely to be successful. Also, choosing short, one-subject sentences and questions help. Avoid compound or complex questions or statements as well as those requiring multiple responses.
- Make sure you have their attention. A person with dementia does not always know you are talking to them. Even if they were having a conversation with you, they can forget and drift off. It is important to start by getting their attention, and then do so repeatedly throughout the conversation. It helps to call the senior by name and look them in the eye. This does not, however, suggest that a senior should ever be talked to like a child.
- Let them know who you are. Sadly, dementia steals a person’s memory. This eventually includes the faces and names of people close to and dear to the senior. Do not assume they know who you are, or even if they recognize you, that they remember your name. By introducing yourself each time you talk, it takes the burden off of the senior to remember who you are or why they know you.
- Limit distractions. In the later stages of dementia, even “busy” wallpaper can be a distraction. By turning off the television or radio, moving away from other conversations, and choosing a room with calm decor, the chances of maintaining the senior’s attention goes up considerably.
- Remain calm and positive. Not matter what the outcome of the conversation is, always remember that the circumstances are far more frustrating and severe for the person with dementia. You get to walk away from the situation, but they must continue to live with their condition. Always remain calm and positive. If you get frustrated, walk away and try again later. Agitation and negativity never result in the outcomes you desire.
For more information about dementia care, or to see how Integrity In-Home Care can help your senior loved one, contact a senior care coordinator today.